6/8,Duanwu Festival

Never heard of it? How about dragon boat festival. It is a Chinese traditional festival. The date is May 5 of the lunar calendar. For this year, it’s tomorrow.

The origin of the festival is still a myth. The widely accepted story is that it commemorates the great ancient poet Quyuan (340 BC – 278 BC), who committed suicide in the miluo river after his country was conquered. Here is a more detailed description on wiki. To my understanding, it is also an important date for ancient people to get ready for the summer–the first season harvest is over, flood is coming, so are diseases,snakes and bugs. There are a lot of activities people do for this festival. They are a combination of celebration, rituals of warding off evil and practice to prevent disease.

1.The most popular activity, is NOT dargon boat racing. Eating Zongzi, rice balls wrapped with leaves, is what most people do.

2. Sweet flag (changpu) and mugwort (aicao)are hanged, usually by the window or behind the door. Some parents use the herbs to bath young children. Later in summer, they can be burnt as mosquito repellent. Where I came from, farmers still keep the tradition of picking herbs in the mountain prior to the day and trade them in the morning of the festival.

3. Of course, the dragon boat race, popular for people live near the water.

4, Some people may also eat red-yolk egg (salted duck egg) or drink realgar wine. The realgar wine is also used to prevent and treat snake bite.

5.Some people wear colorful sachets filed with scented herbs. A less practiced tradition is to tie five-color (white, blue, black, red and yellow)threads on Children’s wrists, ankles and neck–hoping the power of the five colors to keep snakes, scorpions and other danger away from kids.

6. People hang pictures of Zhongkui, a traditional guardian figure to ward off demons and evil.



Filed under China

2 responses to “6/8,Duanwu Festival

  1. Ren

    awww i used to have those little scented pouches when i was little, oh the memories~

  2. It was 6/8? Can’t believe I missed it without realizing. Although I haven’t had the knock-red-egg competition since high school, I try to have a zongzi every year..with sausage it’s just del.i.c.i.o.u.s!!!

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